tv State of the Union 2014 CBS January 28, 2014 6:00pm-7:31pm PST
captioning sponsored by cbs this is a cbs news special report. president obama's state of the union address from a joint session of congress. from washington, here is scott pelley. >> pelley: good evening, president obama is about to give us a status report on what george washington called the american experiment, an experiment now in its 238th year. since his last state of the union, the unemployment rate has fallen below 7% since the great recession. some of it because there are more jobs but also because some people have stopped looking for work and are no longer counted as unemployed. since the president's last state of the union speech, more americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction. 61% up from 54% a year ago. and the president's job approval
rating has dropped from 52% to 46%. joining me tonight are are bob schieffer, our chief washington correspondent and anchor of "face the nation" and norah o'donnell, cohost of cbs "this morning." nora, you've been talking to your sources at the white house. what's in the president's speech? >> well, the president tonight in his state of the union will promise a year of action is his words. he will also address the concerns about economic inequality in this country. but it follows, quite frankly, what has been a year of inaction. the president last year in his state of the union talked about minimum wage, talked about immigration reform, talked about gun control, all of that unfinished business that he will try and talk about again tonight. but he'll need congress' help on those. and while congress has been unwilling to act on many of those measures, the president tonight will be talking about executive actions, things he can do on his own to help jump start his second term. >> pelley: as we were just watching the first lady taking her place in her box with the
president and first lady's guests as we wait for the president to enter in a short time here, bob schieffer, one of the things the president's staff has told us today is that the president is going to say he will work with congress where he can but he will bypass the republic house where he has to. how do you think that's going to play? >> he has not done that in the past. he has been -- has used executive power sparingly, much less so than any of his predecessors in the modern presidency. i'm angst to see how this is going to go over. you know, he announced today that he's going to increase the minimum wage for government workers, but what he's talking about, those that are employed under future contracts. the republicans, john boehner, said this morning said "he is going to help absolutely no one who's now on the government payroll now." that all of that will come for future contracts. so, you know, the part that i
have a question about, generally when you say if i don't need your help you don't get it, you know. so we'll see how this goes over and how this -- how his program unfolds tonight. he has a very modest list of proposals he'll be talking about tonight, much of it repetition, as norah eluded to, of things he asked for last time and didn't get. >> pelley: and we're just watching the president's cabinet coming into the house chamber. that's jack lew there on the right, the treasury secretary. on the left that's chuck hagel, the secretary of defense. we saw secretary of state john kerry walking in a moment ago. norah, the president's speech is coming after a period of time in which there's been a great deal of trouble in washington. there was the government shutdown only a few months ago and also the nearly disastrous rollout of the affordable care act web site. >> white house advisors i spoke
with today acknowledge they've had some tough body blows over this past year. adding to those two things, scott, the n.s.a. disclosures from edward snowden which were really troubling for this white house, difficult for them politically. they're trying to sort of start fresh. advisors told me this speech tonight will be very aspirational "not overly partisan." and that's an acknowledgment, scott, that this is an election year. it is a midterm election year. the democrats may lose the united states senate so what the president wants to do is say, look, i have some pretty bad poll numbers, they've plummeted, i've had a pretty tough year and so i've got to say something that's aspirational, i've got to do these executive actions, while maybe small, and i'm going to say as very little about immigration reform as i can because on thursday the republicans are going to go before the american people and perhaps announce that they may be willing to grant the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country a legal status. and that would be a big step for this president. that's why you're going to see him be very conciliatory on
immigration reform tonight. >> but you know, scott, after the republican shutdown of the government and even many republicans now think that they were just sort of led over a cliff, they thought -- it looked at that point as if the president would really be in the cat bird seat. that, you know, he would really be able to get something done. but all that was kind of washed away by this disastrous rollout of obamacare. so you're kind of back to square one here now and where he goes from here, you know, i thought the "new york times" had a good headline today on one of their things. it said the economy has rarely been better, but the approval ratings have rarely been worse. people seem to favor many of the programs that the president wants to pass, but they are worried and concerned about whether he can actually get it done. so this is going to be very interesting tonight to see how
this rolls out and, you know, how it plays. >> pelley: as we are watching the members of the house and the senate and the president's cabinet filling the house chamber of the u.s. capitol, it's worth remembering that this is something that is required by our constitution. article ii of the constitution requires the president to make an appraisal of the state of the union and report that to the congress every year. but more more than 100 years, that was a written appraisal that was read by a clerk to the chamber. it was woodrow wilson in 1913 who came to the white house -- came to the capitol to make the address in person and ever since then almost all of them have been made in person by the president. lyndon johnson was the first one to use prime time television to make the address and, of course, now that's the way it is always done because often the president
really isn't speaking to the congress so much as speaking past the congress and talking to the american people. and i believe that's what we're going to be hearing tonight as well, bob. >> i think one thing we are not going to see this year is the shutdown of the federal government. every republican that i've talked to said, you know, john boehner was talking today about how, you know, he felt in the beginning it would never work but his members wanted to do it and so he let it. but i think republicans feel like they learned a lesson in this and they may try other things, but i do not think you'll see a shutdown of the government. >> pelley: let's go down to the other end of pennsylvania avenue for a moment where major garrett, our chief white house correspondent, has had an advanced look at the president's speech. major? >> reporter: scott, a big part of this speech will be devoted to the economics of america and jack lew, the treasury secretary, met with quite a few white house reporters yesterday and he conceded the president's economic message is a mixed one.
on one side it will be very optimistic, talking about job gaines steadily for four years. talk about increased wall street performance, a revived auto industry, an improving housing market. at the same time, the president will say something that his economic advisors have told him may become his economic legacy if he doesn't intervene: increased income inequality, stagnant wages and a growing sense of americans that in the middle-class they have a hard time staying where they are and they fear they will not be able to move ahead. so the president will talk about things that he will do and ask congress to take steps with him to address this underlying economic problem. some of it structural, some of it political. the president will also address what bob schieffer was just talking about. he will say we have a bipartisan agreement to avoid government shutdowns for a couple of years so at least there will be no self-inflicted wounds from washington. that's one highlight the president will say he deserves credit for and so does congress. >> pelley: major garrett at the white house. we have just been told that the president has arrived at the door of the house chamber and
what will happen next is that the house sergeant at arms, paul irving, will step forward and announce the president and if history is any guide, there will be a very long standing ovation. and then the president will make the trip down to the rostrum that you see there and will stand right there at the house clerk's desk. that's the little desk you see in front. and with the speaker of the house, john boehner, and the president of the senate, vice president joe biden seated behind him. everybody waiting for the announcement of the president which we are expecting at any moment. >> schieffer: there's no entrance quite like the entrance that the president makes when he comes on to the floor. and here it comes. >> pelley: speaker bane we are his gavel. >> mr. speaker, the president of
there hours before this so they can get next to the aisle there so they can talk to the president and i should also add get on television. if they don't come, they send a place holder to do that. i mean, this is really the walk down ego alley as it were. because, you know, the president gets the big standing ovation, he's going to get another one when he gets up there. and it just goes on and on. it's -- whatever the politics-- and there will be a lot of politics this year because it's an election year, there always is-- it's always been one of my favorite nights in washington. just to see all of them in one place at one time. it's such a cross section of america and they're all for whatever else they're all having a good time. >> pelley: let's listen just for a moment as the president makes that trip. >> what's going on, brother? how are you? good to see you! good to see you. i hope you're doing well. happy new year to you.
dan, good to see you, brother. how are you? >> pelley: well, you have to think about what you're going to say to the president in ten seconds because that's about all the time anyone has. >> o'donnell: you might think many of these members of congress know the president well, spend time with him, they don't. the fact is, even though you're an elected member of congress, you get very little time with the president. and so for them to sit there and get their hands shaken and maybe say a word or two is a special moment. i'm also struck, scott, just by looking at the president tonight how gray his hair looks and, you know, this is a young president, just celebrated his wife's 50th birthday and, you know, he's in his second term and his hair a graying a bit. >> pelley: the president just greeting the members of the supreme court and now greeting the top military officers, the
members of the joint chiefs of staff. nancy cordes, our congressional correspondent, is watching all of this. nancy, what do you think is going to be the reception to the president's speech tonight? >> reporter: well, we've already heard some of the reception from republicans, scott. immediately after the president announced today that he was going to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors the speaker of the house dismissed it. he pointed out that this only applies to future federal contracts, not to current contracts and so as he put it to us "i suspect it affects absolutely no one." and when it comes to the minimum wage across the board, republicans have always argued that that will end up to fewer jobs, not more jobs. >> pelley: and if history is any guide, there are two manila envelopes there on the house clerk's desk and the president should hand those, copies of his speech, to the vice president and the speaker of the house.
the first lady in her box with several guests invited for the occasion. the president handing the speech up now and stand by for another ovation. >> members of congress, i have the high privilege and distinct honor of presenting to you the president of the united states. (cheers and applause) >> pelley: and her we go again, right on cue. this is political theater, bob, in washington's finest form. >> schieffer: you always wonder what this night is like for the vice president and the speaker of the house. they get to sit there and look at the back of his head. (laughter) a speech that goes on for more than an hour and they have to make sure they don't nod off because they're on display. >> pelley: some speakers have described this as the longest night of their year. >> mr. speaker, mr. vice
president, members of congress, my fellow americans. today in america a teacher spent extra time with a student who needed it and did her part to lift america's graduation wait to its highest levels in more than three decades. an entrepreneur flipped on the lights in her tech startup and did her part to add to the more than eight million new jobs our businesses have created over the past four years. (applause) an auto worker fine-tuned some of the best, most fuel-efficient cars in the world and did his part to help america wean itself off foreign oil. a farmer prepared for the spring after the strongest five-year stretch of farm exports in our
history. a rural doctor gave a young child the first prescription to treat asthma that his mother could afford. (cheers and applause) a man took the bus home from the graveyard shift, bone tired but dreaming big dreams for his son. and in tight-knit communities all across america fathers and mothers will tuck in their kids, put an arm around their spouse, remember fallen comrades, and give thanks for being home from a war that, after 12 long years, is finally coming to an end. (cheers and applause)
tonight, this chamber speaks with one voice to the people we respect. it is you, our citizens who make the state of our union strong. (applause) and here are the results of your efforts. the lowest unemployment rate in over five years. a rebounding housing market. a manufacturing sector that's adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s. more oil produced -- (applause). more oil produced at home than we buy from the rest of the world. the first time that's happened in nearly 20 years. (applause) our deficits cut by more than half. (applause) and for the first time in over a decade business leaders around the world have declared that china is no longer the world's
number-one place to invest: america is. (cheers and applause) that's why i believe this can be a break through year for america. after five years of grit and determined effort, the united states is better positioned for the 21st century than any other nation on earth. the question for everyone in this chamber, running through every decision we make this year, is whether we are going to help or hinder this progress. for several years now, this town has been consumed by a rancorous argument over the proper size of the federal government. it's an important debate, one
that dates back to our very founding. but when that debate prevents us from carrying out even the most basic functions of our democracy, when our differences shut down government or threaten the full faith and credit of the united states, then we are not doing right by the american people. (cheers and applause) now, as president i'm committed to making washington work better and rebuilding the trust of the people who sent us here. i believe most of you are, too. last month, thanks to the work of democrats and republicans congress finally produced a budget that undoes some of the last year's severe cuts to priorities like education. nobody got everything they wanted, and we can still do more to invest in this country's
future while bringing down our deficit in a balanced way, but the budget compromise should leave us freer to focus on creating new jobs, not creating new crises. and in the coming months -- (applause). in the coming months let's see where else we can make progress together. let's make this a year of action. that's what most americans want. for all of us in this chamber to focus on their lives, their hopes, their aspirations. and what i believe unites the people of this nation-- regardless of race or region or party, young or old, rich or poor-- is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for all. the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead in america. (applause)
let's face it, that belief has suffered some serious blows. over more than three decades-- even before the great recession sheut-- massive shifts in technology had eliminated middle-class jobs and weakened the economic foundations families depend on. today after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher. and those at the top have never done better. but average wages have barely budged. inequality has deepened. up ward mobility has stalled. the cold hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery too many americans are working more than ever just to get by, let alone to get ahead. and too many still aren't working at all. so our job is to reverse these
trends. it won't happen right away and we won't agree on everything. but what i offer tonight is a set of concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle-class, and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle-class. some require congressional action. and i am eager to work with all of you. but america does not stand still and neither will i. so wherever and wherever i can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more american families that's what i'm going to do. (cheers and applause) as usual, our first lady sets a good example. michelle's -- (applause).
michelle's "let's move" partnership with schools, businesses, local leaders, has helped bring down childhood obesity rates for the first time in 30 years and that's an achievement that will improve lives and reduce health care costs for decades to come. the "joining forces" alliance that michelle and jill biden launched has encouraged employers to hire or train nearly 400,000 veterans and military spouses. (applause) taking a page from that play book, the white house just organized a college opportunity summit where already 150 universities, businesses, and nonprofits have made concrete commitments to reduce inequality
and access to higher education and to help every hard-working kid go to college and succeed when they get to campus. and across the country we're partnering with mayors, governors, and state legislatures on issues from homelessness to marriage equality. the point is, there are millions of americans outside of washington who are tired of stale political arguments and are moving this country forward. they believe. and i believe that here in america our success should depend not on accident of birth but the strength of our work ethic and the scope of our dreams. that's what drew our forebearers here. that's how the daughter of a factory worker is c.e.o. of america's largest automaker. (applause) how the son of a car keep is
speaker of the house. (cheers and applause) (cheers and applause) how the son of a single mom can be president of the greatest nation on earth. (cheers and applause) opportunity is who we are! and the defining project of our generation must be to restore that promise. we know where to start. the best measure of opportunity is access to a good job. with the economy picking up
speed, companies say they intend to hire more people this year. and over half of big manufacturers say they're thinking of insourcing jobs from abroad. (applause) so let's make that decision easier for more companies. both democrats and republicans have argued their our tax code is riddled with wasteful, complicated loopholes that punish businesses investing here and reward companies that keep profits abroad. let's flip that equation. let's work together to close those loopholes, end those incentives to ship jobs overseas and lower tax rates for businesses that create jobs right here at home. (cheers and applause) moreover, we can take the money we save from this transition to
tax reform to create jobs rebuilding our roads, upgrading our ports, unclogging our commutes because in today's global economy, first-class jobs gravitate to first-class infrastructure. we'll need congress to protect more than three million jobs by finishing transportation and waterways bills this summer. (applause) that can happen. but i'll act on my own to slash bureaucracy and streamline the permitting process for key projects so we can get more construction workers on the job as fast as possible. (applause) we also have the chance right now to beat other countries in the race for the next wave of manufacturing jobs. my administration has launched two hubs for high-tech manufacturing in raleigh, north carolina, and young town, ohio, where we've connected businesses to research universities that
can help america lead the world in advanced technologies. tonight, i'm announcing we'll launch six more this year. bipartisan bills in both houses could double the number of these hubs and the jobs they create. so get those bills to my desk. put more americans back to work. (applause) let's do more to help the entrepreneurs and small business owners who create most new jobs in america. over the past five years, my administration has made more loans to small business owners than any other. and when 98% of our exporters are small businesses, new trade partnerships with europe and the asia-pacific will help them create even more jobs. we need to work together on tools like bipartisan trade promotion authority to protect
our workers, protect our environment, and open new markets to new goods stamps "made in the u.s.a." (applause) listen: china and europe aren't standing on the sidelines, and neither should we. we know that the nation that goes all in on innovation today will own the global economy tomorrow. this is an edge america cannot surrender. federally funded research helped lead to the ideas and inventions behind google and smart phones and that's why congress should undo the damage done by last year's cuts to basic research so we can unleash the next great american discovery. (applause)
there are entire industries to be built based on vaccines that stay ahead of drug-resistant bacteria or paper-thin material that's stronger than steel. and let's pass a patent reform bill that allows our businesses to stay focused on innovation, not costly and needless litigation. (applause) now, one of the biggest factors in bringing more jobs back is our commitment to american energy. the "all of the above" energy strategy i announced a few years ago is working and today america is closer to energy independence than we have been in decades. (applause) one of the reasons why is natural gas.
if extracted safely, it's the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change. businesses plan to invest almost $100 billion in new factories that use natural gas. i'll cut red tape to help states get those factories built and put folks to work and this congress can help by putting people to work building fueling stations that ship more cars and trucks from foreign oil to american natural gas. (applause) meanwhile, my administration will keep working with the industry while strengthening protection of our air, our water, our communities and while we're at it i'll use my authority to protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations. (applause)
it's not just oil and natural gas production that's booming. we're becoming a global leader in solar, too. every four minutes, another american home or business goes solar. every panel pounded into place by a worker whose job cannot be outsourceed. let's continue that progress with a smarter tax policy that stops giving $4 billion a year to fossil fuel industries that don't need it so we can invest more in fuels of the future that do! (cheers and applause) and even as we've increased energy production, we've partnered with businesses, builders and local communities to reduce the energy we consume. when we rescued our automakers, for example, we worked with them
to set higher fuel efficiency standards for our cars. in the coming months, i'll build on that success by setting new standards for our trucks so e we can keep driving down oil imports and what we pay at the pump. and taken together, our energy policy is creating jobs and leading to a cleaner, safer planet. over the past eight years, the united states has reduced our total carbon pollution more than any other nation on earth. (applause) but we have to act with more urgency because a changing climate is already harming western communities struggling with drought and coastal cities dealing with floods. that's why i directed my administration to work with states, utilities, and others to set new standards on the amount of carbon pollution our power plants are allowed to dump into the air. (applause) the shift to a cleaner energy
economy won't happen overnight and it will require some tough choices along the way. but the debate is settled. climate change is a fact and when our children's children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world with new sources of energy i want us to be able to say "yes, we did." (cheers and applause) finally, if we're serious about economic growth, it's time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, law enforcement and fix our broken immigration system. (cheers and applause)
republicans and democrats in the senate have acted and i know that members of both parties in the house want to do the same. independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost one trillion dollars in the next two decades. and for good reason. when people come here to fulfill their dreams, to study and invent, contribute to our culture they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everybody. so let's get immigration reform done this year. (cheers and applause) let's get it done. it's time. the ideas i've outlined so far can speed up growth and create more jobs. but in this rapidly changing economy, we have to make sure that every american has the
skills to fill those jobs. the good news is, we know how to do it. two years ago, as the auto industry came roaring back, andra rush opened up a manufacturing firm in detroit. she knew that ford needed parts for the best selling truck in america and she knew how to make those parts. she just needed the work force. so she dialed up what we call an american job center. places where folks can walk in to get the help or training they need to find out a new job or better job. she was flooded with new workers and today detroit manufacturing systems has more than 700 employees. and what andra and her employees experienced is how it should be for every employer and every job seeker. so tonight i've asked vice president biden to lead an across-the-board reform of america's training programs to make sure they have one mission:
train americans with the skills employers need and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now. (applause) that means more on-the-job training and more apprenticeships that set a young worker on an upward trajectory for life. it means connecting companies to community colleges that can help design training to fill their specific needs. and if congress wants to help, you can concentrate funding on proven programs that connect more ready-to-work americans with ready to be filled jobs. i'm also convinced we can help americans return to the work force faster by reforming unemployment insurance so that it's more effective in today's economy.
but first this congress needs to restore the unemployment insurance you just let expire for 1.6 million people. (cheers and applause) let me tell you why. misty demars is a mother of two young boys. she'd been steadily employed since she was a teenager. put herself through college. she'd never collected unemployment benefits, but she'd been paying taxes. in may she and her husband used their life savings to buy their first home. a week later, budget cuts claimed the job she loved. last month when their unemployment insurance was cut off, she sat down and wrote me a letter-- the kind i get
everyday. "we are the face of the unemployment crisis" she wrote. "i'm not dependent on the government. our country depends on people like us who build careers, contribute to society, care about our neighbors. i'm confident that in time i will find a job, i will pay my taxes and we will raise our children in their own home in the community we love. please give us this chance. " congress, give these hard-working responsible americans that chance. (cheers and applause) give them that chance! (applause) give them the chance! they need our help right now, but more important, this country needs them in the game! that's why i've been asking c.e.o.s to give more long-term unemployed workers a fair shot
at new jobs, a new chance to support their families. and, in fact, this week many will come to the white house to make that commitment real. tonight i ask every business leader in america to join us and do the same because we are stronger when america fields a full team. (applause) of course, it's not enough to train today's work force. we also have to prepare tomorrow's work force by guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education. (applause) as estiven rodriguez couldn't speak a word of english when he moved to new york city at the age of nine. but this month thanks to an innovative tutoring program and the help of teachers he led a
march of his classmates from their high school to the post office where they mailed off their college applications. and this son of a factory worker just found out he's going to college this fall. (applause) five years ago, we set out to change the odds for all our kids. we worked with lenders to reform student loans and today more young people are earning college degrees than ever before. race to the top, with the help of governors from both parties, has helped states raise expectations and performance. teachers and principals in schools from tennessee to washington, d.c. are making big strides in preparing students with the skills for the new economy: problem solving, critical thinking, science, technology, engineering, math. now, some of this change is
hard. it requires everything from more challenging curriculums and more demanding parents to better support for teachers and new ways to measure how well our kids think, not how well they can fill in a bubble on the test. but it is worth it. and it is working. the problem is, we're still not reaching enough kids. and we're not reaching them in time. and that has to change. research shows that one of the best investments we can make in a child's life is high-quality early education. (applause) last year, i asked this congress to help states make high quality pre-k available to every four-year-old. and as a parent as well as a
president i repeat that request tonight. but in the meantime 30, states have raised pre-k funding on their own. they know we can't wait. so just as we worked with states to reform our schools, this year we'll invest in new partnerships with states and communities across the country in a race to the top for our youngest children. and as congress decides what it's going to do, i'm going to pull together a coalition of elected officials, business leaders and philanthropists willing to help more kids access the high quality pre-k that they need. it is right for america. we need to get this done. (applause) last year, i also pledged to connect 99% of our students to high-speed pwro *d band ove-spe. tonight i can announce with the support of the f.c.c. and
companies like apple, microsoft, sprint and verizon we have a down payment to start connecting more than 15,000 schools and 20 million students over the next two years without adding a dime to the deficit. (applause) we're working to redesign high schools and partner them with colleges and employers that offer the real world education and hands-on training that can lead directly to a job and career. we're shaking up our system of higher education to give parents more information and colleges more incentive to offer better value. so that no middle-class kid is priced out of a college education. we're offering millions the opportunity to cap their monthly student loan payments to 10% of their income. and i want to work with congress to see how we can help even more americans who feel trapped by student loan debt. (applause)
and i'm reaching out to some of america's leading foundations and corporations on a new initiative to help more young men of color facing especially tough odds to stay on track and reach their full potential. the bottom line is michelle and i want every child to have the same chance this country gave us. but we know our opportunity agenda won't be complete and too many young people entering the work force today will see the american dream as an empty promise unless we also do more to make sure our economy honors the dignity of work. and hard work pays off for every single american. today women make up about half our work force, but they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. that is wrong. and in 2014 it's an embarrassment! women deserve equal pay for
equal work. (cheers and applause) she deserves to have a baby without sacrificing her job. a mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or a sick parent without running into hardship. and you know what? a father does, too. it is time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a "mad men" episode. this year, let's all come together: congress, the white house, businesses from wall street to main street to give every woman the opportunity she deserves because i believe when women succeed america succeeds. (cheers and applause)
now, women hold a majority of lower-wage jobs, but they're not the only ones stifled by stagnant wages. americans understand that some people will earn more money than others and we don't resent those who, by virtue of their efforts, achieve incredible success. that's what america is all about. but americans overwhelmingly agree that no one who works full time should ever have to raise a family in poverty. (applause) (applause)
in the year since i asked this congress to raise the minimum wage, five states have passed laws to raise theirs. many businesses have done it on their own. nick chute is here today with his boss john soranno. john is an owner of punch pizza in minneapolis and nick helps make the dough. only now he makes more of it. (laughter) john just gave his employees a raise to ten bucks an hour, and that's a decision that has eased their financial stress and boosted their morale. tonight i ask more of america's business leaders to follow john's lead. do what you can to raise your employees' wages. (applause) it's good for the economy, it's good for america. (applause)
to every mayor, governor, state legislator in america i say you don't have to wait for congress to act. americans will support you if you take this on. and as a chief executive, i intend to lead by example. profitable corporations like costco see higher wages as the smart way to boost productivity and reduce turnover. we should, too. in the coming weeks, i will issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour because if you cook our troops' meals or wash their dishes you should not have to live in poverty. (applause) of course, to reach millions
more, congress does need to get on board. today the federal minimum wage is worth about 20% less than it was when ronald reagan first stood here. tom harkin and george miller have a bill to fix that by lifting the minimum wage to $10.10. it's easy to remember. 10.10. this will help families, it will give businesses customers with more money to spend, it does not involve any new bureaucratic program. so join the rest of the country, say yes. give america a raise! (cheers and applause) give them a raise. (applause) there are other steps we can take to help families make ends meet and few are more effective at reducing inequality and
helping families pull themselves up through hard work than the earned income tax credit. right now, it helps about half of all parents at some point. think about that. it helps about half of all parents in america at some point in their lives. but i agree with republicans like senator rubio that it doesn't do enough for single workers who don't have kids. so let's work together to strengthen the credit, reward work, help more americans get ahead. let's do more to help americans save for retirement. today most workers don't have a pension. a social security check often isn't enough on its own. and while the stock market has doubled over the last five years, that doesn't help folks who don't have 401(k)s. that's why tomorrow i will direct the treasury to create a new way for working americans to start their own retirement savings. myra.
it's a new savings bond that encourages folks to build a nest egg. myra guarantees a desince return with no risk of losing what you put in and if this congress wants to help, work with me to fix an upside down tax code that gives big tax breaks to help the wealthy save but does little or nothing for middle-class americans. offer every american access to an automatic i.r.a. on the job so they can save at work just like everybody in this chamber can. and since the most important investment many families make is their home, send me legislation that protects taxpayers from footing the bill for a housing crisis ever again and keeps the dream of homeownership alive for future generations. (applause)
one last point on financial security. for decades few things exposed hardworking families to economic hardship more than a broken health care system. and in case you haven't heard, we here in the process of fixing that. (applause) now, a preexisting condition used to mean that someone like amanda shelley, a physician's assistant and single mom from arizona, couldn't get health insurance. but on january 1 she got covered. (applause) on january 3, she felt a sharp pain. on january 6, she had emergency surgery. just one week earlier, amanda said, and that surgery would have meant bankruptcy. that's what health insurance reform is all about, the peace
of mind that if misfortune strikes you don't have to lose everything. already because of the affordable care act more than three million americans under age 26 have gained coverage under their parents' plan. (applause) more than nine million americans have signed up for private health insurance or medicaid coverage. (applause) nine million. and here's another number: zero. because of this law, no american, none, zero, can ever again be dropped or denied coverage for a preexisting condition like asthma or back pain or cancer. (cheers and applause) no woman can ever be charged more just because she's a woman.
(applause) and we did all this while adding years to medicare's finances, keeping medicare premiums flat, and lowering prescription costs for millions of seniors. now, i do not expect to convince my republican friends on the merits of this law. (laughter) but i know that the american people are not interested in refighting old battles so, again, if you have specific plans to cut costs, cover more people, increase choice, tell america what you'd do differently. let's see if the numbers add up. but let's not have another 40-something votes to repeal a law that's already helping millions of americans like
amanda. (cheers and applause) (cheers and applause) the first 40 were plenty. we all owe it to the american people to say what we're for. not just what we're against. and if you want to know the real impact this law is having, just talk to governor steve beshear of kentucky who's here tonight. now, kentucky's not the most liberal part of the country. (laughter) that's not where i got my highest vote totals. but he's like a man possessed when it comes to covering his
commonwealth's families. they're our neighbors and our friends, he said. they're people we shop and go to church with. farmers out on the tractor. grocery clerks. they're people who go to work every morning praying they don't get sick. no one deserves to live that way. steve's right. that's why tonight i ask every american who knows someone without health insurance to help them get covered by march 31. (applause) help them get covered. moms, get on your kids to sign up. kids, call your mom and walk her through the application. that will give her some peace of mind and plus she'll appreciate hearing from you. (laughter)
after all, that's the spirit that has always moved this nation forward. it's the spirit of citizenship, the recognition that through hard work and responsibility we can pursue our individual dreams but stil come together as one american family to make sure the next generation can pursue its dreams as well. citizenship means standing up for everyone's right to vote. (applause) last year, part of the voting rights act was weakened but conservative republicans and liberal democrats are working together to strengthen it. and the bipartisan commission i appointed chaired by my campaign lawyer and governor romney's campaign lawyer came together and have offered reforms so that
no one has to wait more than a half hour to vote let's support these efforts. it should be the power of our vote, not the size of our bank accounts, that drives our democracy. (applause) icitizenship means standing up for the lives that gun violencee steals from us each day. i've seen the courage of students, pastors, police officers all over this country who say "we are not afraid." and i intend to keep trying with or without congress to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent americans in our movie theaters and our shopping malls or schools like sandy hook. (applause)
citizenship demands a sense of common purpose. participation in the hard work of self-government. an obligation to serve our communities. and i know this this chamber agrees that few americans give more to their country than our diplomats and the men and women of the united states armed forces. (applause). (applause) (cheers and applause)
tonight, because of the extraordinary troops and civilians who risk and lay down their lives to keep us free, the united states is more secure. when i took office, nearly 180,000 americans were servis in iraq and afghanistan. today all our troops are out of iraq, more than 60,000 of our troops have already come home from afghanistan. with afghan forces now in the lead for their own security, our troops have moved to a support role. together with our allies, we will complete our mission there by the end of this year. and america's longest war will finally be over. (applause)
after 2014 we will support a unified afghanistan as it takes responsibility for its own future. if the afghan government signs a security agreement that we have negotiated, a small force of americans could remain in afghanistan with nato allies to carry out two narrow missions: training and assisting afghan forces and counterterrorism operations to pursue any remnants of al qaeda. for while our relationship with afghanistan will change, one thing will not: our resolve that terrorists do not launch attacks against our country. (applause)
the fact is, that danger remains. while we've put al qaeda's core leadership on a path to defeat, the threat has evolved as al qaeda affiliates and other extremists take root in different parts of the world. in yemen, somalia, iraq, mali, we have to keep working with partners to disrupt and disable those networks. in syria, we'll support the opposition that rejects the agenda of terrorist networks. here at home, we'll keep strengthening our defenses and combat new threats like cyber attacks. and as we reform our defense budget, we will have to keep faith with our men and women in uniform and invest in the capabilities they need to succeed in future missions. (applause) (applause)
we have to remain vigilant, but i strongly believe our leadership and our security cannot depend on our outstanding military alone. as commander in chief, i have used force when needed to protect the american people and i will never hesitate to do so as long as i hold this office. but i will not send our troops into harm's way unless it is truly necessary, nor will i allow our sons and daughters to be mired in open-ended conflicts. we must fight the battles that need to be fought, not those that terrorists prefer from us: large scale deployments that drain our strength and may ultimately feed extremism. so even as we actively and aggressively pursue terrorist networks through more targeted efforts and by building the
capacity of our foreign partners, america must move off a permanent war footing. (applause) that's why i've imposed prudent limits on the use of drones. for we will not be safer if people abroad believe we strike within their countries without regard for the consequence. that's why working with this congressly reform our surveillance programs because the vital work of our intelligence community depends on public confidence here and abroad that privacy of ordinary people is not being violated. (applause) and with the afghan war ending, this needs to be the year congress lifts the remaining restrictions on detainee transfers and we close the prison at guantanamo bay. (applause) because we counter terrorism not
just through intelligence and military actions but by remaining true to our constitutional ideals and setting an example for the rest of the world. you see, in a world of complex threats, our security, our leadership depends on all elements of our power, including strong and principles diplomacy. american diplomacy has rallied more than 50 countries to prevent nuclear materials from falling into the wrong hands. and allowed us to reduce our own reliance on cold war stockpiles. american diplomacy-- backed by the threat of force-- is why syria's chemical weapons are being eliminated. (applause) and we will continue to work with the international community to usher in the future the syrian people deserve. a future free of dictatorship,
terror, and fear. as we speak, american diplomacy is supporting israelis and palestinians as they engage in the difficult but necessary talks to end the conflict there. to achieve dignity and an independent state for palestinians and lasting peace and security for the state of israel, a jewish state that knows america will always be at their side. (applause) and it is american diplomacy, backed by pressure, that has halted the progress of iran's nuclear program and rolled back parts of that program for the very first time in a decade. as we gather here tonight, iran has begun to eliminate its
stockpile of higher levels of enriched uranium. it's not installing advanced centrifuges. unprecedented inspections help the world verify everyday that iran is not building a bomb. and with our allies and partners, we're engaged in negotiations to see if we can peacefully achieve a goal we all share: preventing iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. (applause) these negotiations will be difficult. they may not succeed. we are clear-eyed about iran's support for terrorist organizations like hezbollah which threatens our allies and we're clear about the mistrust between our nations, mistrust
that cannot be wished away. but these negotiations don't rely on trust. any long-term deal we agree to must be based on verifiable action that convinces us and the international community that iran is not building a nuclear bomb. if john f. kennedy and ronald reagan could negotiate with the soviet union then surely a strong and confident america can negotiate with less powerful adversaries today. (applause) the sanctions that we put in place helped make this opportunity possible. but let me be clear: if this congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks, i will veto it. (applause)
for the sake of our national security, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed. (applause) if iran's leaders do not seize this opportunity then i will be the first to call for more sanctions and stand ready to exercise all options to make sure iran does not build a nuclear weapon. but if iran's leaders do seize the chance-- and we'll know soon enough-- then iran could taken a important step to rejoin the community of nations and we will have resolved one of the leading security channels of our time without the risks of war. and finally let's remember that our leadership is defined not just by our defense against threats but by the enormous opportunities to do good and promote understanding around the globe.
to forge greater cooperation, to expand new markets, to free people from fear and want. and no one is better positioned to take advantage of those opportunities than america. our alliance with europe remains the strongest the world has ever known. from tunisia to burma we're supporting those who are willing to do the hard work of building democracy. in ukraine, we stand for the principle that all people have the right to express themselves freely and peacefully. and to have a say in their country's future. across africa, we're bringing together businesses and governments to double access to electricity and help end extreme poverty. in the americas, we're building new ties of commerce, but we're also expanding cultural and educational exchanges among young people. and we will continue to focus on the asia-pacific where we support our allies, shape a
future of greater security and prosperity, and extend a hand to those devastated by disaster. as we did in the philippines when our marines and avilles cis rushed to aid those battered by a typhoon and who got words like "we will never forget your kindness" and "god bless america." we do these things because they help promote our long-term security and because we believe in the inherent dignity and equality of every human being regardless of race or religion, creed or sexual orientation. and next week, the world will see one expression of that commitment when team u.s.a. march it is red white and blue into the olympic stadium and brings home the gold. (cheers and applause)
my fellow americans, no other country in the world does what we do. on every issue the world turns to us. not simply because of the size of our economy or our military might but because the ideals we stand for and the burdens we bear to advance them. no one knows this better than those who serve in uniform. as this time of war draws to a close, a new generation of heroes returns to civilian life. we'll keep slashing that backlog so our veterans receive the benefits they've earned and our wounded warriors receive the health care-- including the mental health care-- that they need.
(applause) we'll keep working to help our veterans translate their skills and leadership into jobs here at home and we will all continue to join forces to honor and support our remarkable military families. let me tell you about one of those families i've come to know. i first met cory remsburg, a proud army ranger, at omaha beach on the 65th anniversary of d-day along with some of his fellow rangers, he walked me through the program and the ceremony, he was a strong, impressive young man, had an easy manner, was sharp as a tack and we joked around and took pictures and i told him to
stay in touch. a few months later, on his 10th deployment, cory was nearly killed by a massive roadside bomb in afghanistan. his comrades found him in a canal face down underwater shrapnel in his brain. for months he lay in a coma. the next time i met him, in the hospital, he couldn't speak he could barely move. over the years, he's endured dozens of surgeries and procedures, hours of grueling rehab everyday. even now, cory's still blind in one eye. still struggles on his left side. but slowly, steadily, with the support of caregivers like his dad craig and the community around him, cory has grown
stronger. and day by day he's learned to speak again and stand again and walk again. and he's working toward the day when he can serve his country again. "my recovery has not been easy," he says. "nothing in life that's worth anything is easy." cory is here tonight. and, like the army he loves, like the america he serves, sergeant first class cory remsburg never gives up and he does not quit. (cheers and applause) (cheers and applause)
(cheers and applause) (cheers and applause) my fellow americans, men and women like cory remind us that america has never come easy. our freedom, our democracy has never been easy. sometimes we stumble, we make mistakes, we get frustrated or discouraged. but for more than 200 years we have put those things aside and placed our collective shoulder to the wheel of progress to create and build and expand the
possibilities of individual achievement, to free other nations from tyranny and fear. the promote justice and fairness and equality under the law so that the words set to paper by our founders are made real for every citizen. the america we want for our kids, a rising america where honest work is plentiful and communities are strong, where prosperity is widely shared and opportunity for all lets us go as far as our dreams and toil will take us, none of it is easy. but if we work together if we summon was what is best in us the way cory summoned what is best in him, with our feet planted firmly in today but our eyes cast toward tomorrow i know it is within our reach.
believe it. god bless you and god bless the united states of america. (cheers and applause) >> pelley: president obama's faith state of the union address coming to a close with a rousing tribute to sergeant first class cory remsburg who the president met when he was able-bodied and then met again after sergeant first class remsburg's tenth deployment, tenth deployment when he was wounded by a roadside bomb in afghanistan. the president's speech had an optimistic tone. it was sort of a can-do speech coming at a time when much of the country is in a doubtful mood, having recently watched the government shutdown and the troubled rollout of the affordable care act's web site. the president talked about the need to rebuild the trust of the people who sent us here.
bob schieffer, he highlighted six areas where he said he would act if congress would not, saying that he would use the power of the pulpit, the bully pulpit, and executive orders to take action if the republican congress wouldn't help him. >> schieffer: i think that's the lead, that's the news lead. but i think clearly the highlight of this speech was seeing that young sergeant stand up and what that stood for. i mean -- to see his father help him up. i mean, that is what people will take away from this speech. the rest of it, we'll see how it works out. >> pelley: that ovation lasted more than two minutes. certainly longest ovation we saw tonight with the sergeant first class remsburg standing as an archetype for all of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. >> schieffer: and just a symbol of what the country has gone through in these long wars and the sacrifices these people
have made. you know, the president kind of drew the line, and i'll be interested to see what the reaction from this congress is going to be. he says he's going to do -- he's not going to wait for them. he's going to go ahead if they can't do it. well, the fact is, he can't do many great things. you can by executive order do some things. truman desegregated the arms services with an executive order but he needs this congress and they need him and they have still got to find a way to work together if they're going to solve the real problems that are facing this country. >> pelley: norah o'donnell, what did you see in the speech? >> o'donnell: i agree. and just adding on sergeant remsburg, a reminder that there have been more than 900,000 servicemen and women who were wounded in iraq and afghanistan. nearly a million. and his wounds are some of the toughest that servicemen and women have experienced and i think the president ended on that clearly because we saw both republicans and democrats rise to their feet.
and that's the narrative and the arc of the speech, that we in washington can't stand in the way of the progress that needs to be made. the beginning of the speech the president said "it's you, the citizens of america that make the state of our union strong." and i think the rest of his speech really just proved that obama's proposals have gone from grand to granular. right? from these grand sweeping proposals at the beginning of his second term to the granule more modest scaled back proposals where really the only thing he could probably get done other than the steps he'll take by executive action this year is this sliver of hope that there might be some deal on immigration reform. the president in last year's remarks said a pathway to citizenship, spent several paragraphs on it. this year just one paragraph and he dropped the pathway to citizenship reference because what he may get from the republicans in congress is just legal status. but he may take that. >> pelley: in fact, he gave no specifics on immigration reform and that was probably a
strategic move on his part to not give the opposition anything to latch on to and to be against. john dickerson is our cbs news political director and i want to bring you in, john, as we continue to watch the president leaving the chamber tonight. the president talked about the numbers of areas where he would act if congress would not but it really reminded many people of the limits of presidential power. >> absolutely. it was a very modest list of things that he can do himself. to your point about immigration, they know-- and the president has been told by speaker boehner-- if you get too involved in immigration you'll scare off republicans who we hope to get together on some kind of immigration bill. but if you look at the areas the president talked about, the big things: immigration, tax reform, student loans, extending unemployment benefits, the minimum wage, all of those things require congress to work with him. but before the speech his aides were saying because congress --
he's had such difficulty with the republicans in congress he was going to go it alone. but if you look at the specifics of what he's going to do, he's going to do -- he's going to raise the minimum wage for companies that work with the federal government. well, that's a very small amount. he'll set up a special thing at the treasury department, a savings account. that's a very small thing. he's going to convene c.e.o.s. he's going to meet with college professors, he's going to cut some red tape and take care of some permitting blockages. that is very small bore stuff compared to the claims the president made tonight and his aides have been making i makings of his acting, when congress doesn't. >> pelley: well, the president would certainly prefer signing legislation to signs autographs. major garrett's our chief white house correspondent. major, you've been analyzing the speech as it begins to snow here in washington. what did you see? >> reporter: scott, what i can tell you is what happened here at the white house before the speech. we are obliged at the white house-- those of us who cover it
everyday-- to find out the absolute specifics of some of these executive orders the president hopes will gather headlines in tomorrow morning's coverage of the speech. the one on minimum wage for federal contract workers and this idea of a my i.r.a., a specialized savings account for workers. i can tell you at the briefings in the white house, the white house had very few specifics, specifically on that savings account, nothing about whether it would have any preferential tax status, how it would start, what agreements there are with employers. what it is that people who work for these employers would suddenly find in their paychecks to save if they aren't saving already. the white house could answer almost no specific questions about how this would work, would it require congress? and what it would do to advance the cause of savings. it's not a pension, not a tax referential i.r.a. or 401(k) account. the white house had no answers on that or the minimum wage for contract workers. >> pelley: and there goes the president leaving the house chamber and about to head back to the white house.
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